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Graphics by Rhio

 The Beginning of Tulsa
By J. M. Hall (1927)

(c) Karolyn Kay Garland (1997)

Nothing here is free for the taking. This book is reproduced here with the permission of the copyright holder - see copyright statement.

Page 85

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DR. J. C. W. BLAND
Photo Dr. J C W Bland
RED FORK TRAIL
by the late DR. J. C. W. BLAND

        Red Fork, now Tulsa town, by annexation, has contributed more than its quadrant share to the building of the greatest city in Oklahoma, the oil capital of the world, and should have its designation in the magic metropolis of the domain.
        Red Fork's contribution will be briefly referred to after a short history of the Red Fork trail, for it was from this travel path that the name came. The Gano crossing of the Arkansas river, midway along the rim drive, later became the Star route trail from Vinita to New Mexico. This was in a general southwest direction. A trail led off from this, more traveled thoroughfare to the mouth of the Red Fork of the Arkansas, now wholly known as the Cimarron river. It was here that the trail forked, and the Frisco railroad was built to this point, the station taking its name from the trail.
        Although little traveled this had been an important route to the Pawnee agency, and to the cattle country to the west and the northwest. Very early a trail was beaten out on the south of the Cimarron river to a rock crossing two miles above the present town of Oilton. This route had been followed to the gold fields of California, and by various Indians to the buffalo plains to the west. Near this crossing can be found many stone arrow heads, evidence of an early Indian settlement. It is not known what Indians these were.
        So much as to how the name of Red Fork came: It was on the trail, at the fork of the trail. Recollection of its history, and sentiment will make the name hard to give up.
        There was nothing at Red Fork until after the building of the railroad, when James H. Parkinson established a large general merchandise store. J. M. Hall and Co., later H. C. Hall and Co., soon established another general store. Both made good frontier merchants; liberal minded, carrying some of all kinds of merchandise, including building material, a trade was soon established with Indian posts and overland stores, making this an important freighting point.
        With the stockyards this soon became a cattle shipping point and a meeting place for stockmen. Dream of railroad extension took on action, and B. F. Parkinson, a son of the pioneer merchant, conducted an engineering party over the Red Fork Trail to the mouth of the river. This led over a rocky mountain country and was considered impractical. Lucky it was, for here were all the facilities required by the frontier to the west. Direct shipping connections with St. Louis attracted cattle shippers from the south to the Texas line, and from the west to the Cheyenne country. The sphere of freighting was less, yet the importance of the industry was important.
        The first merchant had built a substantial home and branched successfully into the cattle business, Charles Clinton, a successful rancher, built a beautiful home on a selected site more than 42 

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